Facial reconstruction of Richard III
Readers of this Blog may be interested to know that there is a small display about Richard III at the Yorkshire Museum. I stumbled across it at the weekend whilst showing some international curators some of the York’s cultural heritage on Saturday. It is more of an ‘installation’ in the Yorkshire Museum’s existing Medieval gallery and it is fairly modest: the facial reconstruction of Richard III made by Caroline Wilkinson of the University of Dundee for the recent documentary, supported by four text panels and a number of exhibits from the Yorkshire Museum’s stunning collection of treasure items from the period, star exhibits such as the Middleham jewel, the Middleham ring and a boar badge worn by those of Richard’s household and affiliation.
Livery badge showing a boar, the symbol of Richard III
The exhibition is open until 13th October and then moves on to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, the British Museum and Gloucester Museum and Art Gallery. After touring, the facial reconstruction will return to Leicester for permanent display in the new King Richard III visitor centre.The tour was organised by Leicester Arts and Museums Service and the model has been kindly loaned for display by the Richard III Society.The tour is supported by the University of Leicester, the University of Dundee and Darlow Smithson Productions.
The sign outside the Yorkshire Museum generated expectations in me that were not actually met. This is clearly quite a modest affair though it does create a new focus for beautiful objects in the museum’s collection. With the discovery of the king’s remains in a Leicester car park, has the time come for a major block-buster re-evalutation of the last Plantagenet king’s brief but controversial reign? Perhaps it’s time for a dayschool on Richard III incorporating lectures on the recent excavation, a reappraisal of the battle of Bosworth, the Medieval landscape at Middleham and contributions by authoritative historians?
Links from bracelet
Now seems to be the season for finding lots of interesting stories about fakes and forgeries and objects that might not be what they seem at first glance. We are putting some fakes and forgeries as well as copies of objects in the Ancient Worlds displays opening on 30th October.
Just before Xmas a member of the public brought some objects into the Manchester Museum for identification. They are silvery-looking links from a bracelet. Each link shows a different design: there’s a castle tower or turret, the head of an archbishop and so on. They might not look particularly old but I remembered seeing something very similar about 20 years ago reported by a metal-detectorist to the Hull Museum where I was then working. I’d forgotten all about it until I came across an image of the item in a Portable Antiquities Scheme publication. Caroline Barton, Assistant Treasure Registrar at the British Museum, kindly found the reference in a 2003 report. The link was identified as ‘medieval’ and ‘c.1450’. Caroline sent me an image:-
It is pretty well identicial to the links brought in recently. Compare the photo above with the link in the centre of the photo at the top of this Blog and you’ll see. The enquirer told me that she had purchased the links in a charity shop in Manchester. She thinks they had come from a house clearance. This suggests that the link I saw in Hull in the 1990s cannot be of medieval date and is much more likely to be modern. You can see the virtually complete bracelet on a Blog for the Medieval section of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society. Something like 20 years after the event I can at last get some closure on what the object was and its date. I suspect the links were part of a bracelet made in, say, the 1950s. I feel sure there must be a complete example somewhere out there. It would be great to see one intact. If anyone out there has one do let me know.